Students Earn Top Honors at Regional Scientific Conference

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Students Earn Top Honors at Regional Scientific Conference

By Sherry Squires, Boise State University Communications and Marketing

Two Boise State students earned first place awards at the 92nd Annual Pacific Division Meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAASPD), held on the University of San Diego campus last week. Reed Jacob and Wendy Harvey took top honors in division sections: Chemistry/Biochemistry and Cellular/Molecular Biology, respectively. 

Jacob is currently a graduate student in the interdisciplinary master’s program with an emphasis on computational biochemistry. He presented work detailing the use and development of the computer program DockoMatic in an oral presentation titled, “Predictive Potential Unraveled with DockoMatic,” coauthored by faculty mentor Owen McDougal, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. DockoMatic resulted from collaboration between Tim Andersen in Computer Science and graduate student Casey Bullock. Manuscripts describing DockoMatic recently have been published in BMC Bioinformatics (2010) and the Journal of Computational Chemistry (in press).

Harvey, a graduate student in biological sciences under the mentorship of Kristen Mitchell, presented her award-winning oral presentation titled “Exposure to TCDD (Dioxin) Increases Hepatic Stellate Cell Activation.” Other Boise State presenters were chemistry student Chris Mallory and biological sciences student Cheri Lamb, along with faculty members McDougal and Cheryl Jorcyk.

In June 2012, the AAASPD will join with the Northwest Regional American Chemical Society division for a meeting in Boise. Boise State faculty have assumed leadership roles in both organizations. At this year’s AAASPD conference, Mitchell was elected as the chair of the Cellular and Molecular Biology section; Jorcyk serves as a member at large on the council; and McDougal, who currently serves on the council and as section chair for Chemistry and Biochemistry, was elected president of the division beginning June 2012.

Contact McDougal at 426-3964 or for more information on the upcoming meeting and opportunities for students to participate.

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